Re: Consensus and conflict
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 13:01:47 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 6, 2021, at 4:10 PM, Scott Drennan <scottd [at]> wrote:
> I think there's a distinction between the welcoming of conflict and the 
> welcoming of violent confrontation.  

What is conflict and what is violent confrontation is a widely varying norm. 

> What Sharon describes with throwing of chairs and pounding of tables seems 
> like it would be traumatizing to people with a history of bullying and abuse, 
> and not what I would be looking for in a cohousing community.

Bullying is the repeated subjecting of a person to something that one knows is 
emotionally damaging to the person. It’s an ongoing intentional behavior. 

Being angry and yelling and even throwing things (as long as they don’t hurt 
anyone or create irreparable damage, are not necessarily bullying or violent 

> I find that Roseberg's Nonviolent Communication provides a good adjunct to 
> sociocracy and gives a vocabulary and structure for us to discuss contentious 
> issues in ways that don't degrade to bullying, name calling and throwing 
> things.  Since use of NVC is included in our community values it also gives a 
> tool to stop those sorts of escalations without needing to resort to the same 
> techniques.

More on NVC in the next message, but NVC only works with verbally adept people 
who understand negotiation. Rosenberg developed it initially when working with 
gangs in California to tamp down fights.

I think it is a good technique. But is it the same thing as communicating 
feelings? It can help explain feelings, but I know more from a table pounded or 
a chair thrown than I would know from NVC. Analysis rarely communicates the 
importance of an event in the moment. 

And over time too often the feelings just submerge and fester forever.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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